Joique Bell led NFL in key Fantasy category

By Larry Hartstein | Senior Analyst

Joique Bell (8 TDs) was very reliable near the goal line last year. (USATSI)
Joique Bell (8 TDs) was very reliable near the goal line last year. (USATSI)

The Lions gave Reggie Bush 223 carries and Joique Bell 166 last season. All indications are there will be an even split in 2014 under new coordinator Joe Lombardi.

Detroit showed its commitment to Bell by giving him $4.3 million guaranteed this offseason. Under new coach Jim Caldwell, the Lions will line up in more traditional sets and fewer shotgun formations, a trend that also favors Bell.

Bell only averaged 3.9 yards per carry, but he excelled where it mattered most. On 14 rushes inside the opponents' 10-yard line, Bell scored seven touchdowns. That 50 percent rate led all running backs with at least 14 chances.

Reggie Bush, on other hand, cashed in twice in 10 chances.

Here are the 2013 leaders in rushing touchdowns on carries from inside the 10:

Marshawn Lynch: 10 TDs, 37 carries

Jamaal Charles: 10 TDs, 27 carries

Eddie Lacy: 10 TDs, 25 carries

DeMarco Murray: 9 TDs, 23 carries

Fred Jackson: 8 TDs, 30 carries

Le'Veon Bell: 8 TDs, 26 carries

Knowshon Moreno: 8 TDs, 21 carries

Rashard Mendenhall: 8 TDs, 19 carries

Matt Forte: 7 TDs, 26 carries

Joique Bell: 7 TDs, 14 carries

BenJarvus Green-Ellis: 7 TDs, 19 carries

Zac Stacy: 6 TDs, 21 carries

Adrian Peterson: 6 TDs, 20 carries

Stevan Ridley: 6 TDs, 14 carries

Like Bush, Bell is an outstanding receiver. Bell caught 105 passes the past two years.

Dave Richard ranks Bush 16th and Bell 23rd among running backs, while Jamey Eisenberg has them 15th and 25th respectively. If Bell gets an even split of the carries and continues to be leaned on near the goal line, he'll fulfull his RB2 potential.

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